Kern River power line

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Electrical Engineer

New York, NY, United States
vol. 20, no. 381, p. 173, col. 1-2




THE high cost of fuel prevailing in most parts of California, has turned enterprising capitalists to the utilization of the numerous water-powers which abound among its mountains. Our readers will recall the Pomona plant and the recent inauguration of the Folsom-Sacramento transmission plant, which may be said to be the pioneers of many similar enterprises now in contemplation. Among these the one nearest consummation is the work shortly to be begun by the Power Development Co., of San Francisco, at Bakersfield, Cal., which is situated in Kern County, on the line of the Southern Pacific Railway. The power for this plant is to be obtained from the water of the Kern river, which will be diverted through a flume at a point in the Kern river canyon about 17 miles northeast of Bakersfield, and carried to the point where the canyon opens on the level country. The water will then be carried in a 48-inch steel pipe to the power house site, a distance of about 4,200 feet, at which place the head will be 240 feet. The power house site is about 15 miles by wagon road northeast of Bakersfield. These locations are shown on the accompanying map.


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There will be installed in the power house generators of not less than 1,200 H. P. capacity to be direct driven from water wheels (provisions being made for increasing the capacity at a later date). The power house is to be connected with a sub-station in Bakersfield by a transmission line of 1,500 H. P. capacity, at a loss in line of not more than 10 per cent.

The length of the transmission line from the power house site to the town limits is about 11 1/2 miles and from the town limits to the sub-station about 1.8 miles; the line will be run in two independent circuits. Besides the power conductors, there will be strung on the poles a No. 12 copper, twin twisted telephone cable.

At the sub-station in Bakersfield there will be installed step-down transformers which will reduce the line potential of 10,000 volts to 2,000. These transformers will have a capacity for supplying 1,000 10 C. P. 60 watt incandescent lamps and 180 2,000 C. P. alternating current arc lamps. In addition there will be installed a constant current arc machine with a capacity of 100 2,000 C. P. lamps which will be driven by a synchronous alternating motor, and two rotary transformers, of a combined capacity of 100 H. P. at 550 volts pressure direct current.

Besides the distribution of light and power the company will also operate an electric railway between Bakersfield and the adjoining town of Kern. The initial equipment will consist of four motor cars and four trailers.

Mr. Carroll N. Beal, secretary and treasurer of the Power Development Co., is now in the East making the arrangements for the installation of the work which will be begun at an early date.


Keywords:Power Transmission : Kern River : Need Image
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:July 9, 2011 by: Bob Stahr;